Baby Poo has ten times more microplastics than adult feces | Smart News
Microplastics, or tiny particles of synthetic material smaller than five millimeters, can be found almost anywhere. When plastic bottles or plastic bags break down, they break down into tiny pieces that can seep into the tiniest corners of nature. When washing synthetic fibers, parts break and return to our water sources. Microplastics can even be found in the most remote parts of the world like the Arctic and the deepest parts of the oceans, reports Cable Matt Simon.
Now scientists have found the synthetic materials in infant poop, according to a small pilot study published in Letters on environmental sciences and technologies. Based on body weight, the microplastics in baby’s poop were ten times higher than those found in adult stools, Justine Calma reports for the Edge. Researchers collected stool samples from ten adults and six infants in New York State, Ed Cara reports for Gizmodo. The team also sampled the very first poo from three newborns, according to the Edge. Despite the study’s small sample size, the results show that more research is needed to understand how microplastics affect people of all ages.
“Our data provides basic evidence for [microplastic] exposure doses in infants and adults and support the need for additional studies with a larger sample to corroborate and extend our results, ”the study explains.
In feces, the researchers were looking for traces of two commonly found plastics: polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polycarbonate. To ensure that the plastic found in infants’ feces did not come from their diapers, the researchers excluded traces of polypropylene, a polymer commonly found in diapers, by Wired. In all of the poop samples collected, the researchers found at least one type of plastic. Traces of plastic were also found in the newborn’s first stools, suggesting the plastic was already in their systems.
“Babies are exposed to high levels of plastic, something has to be done,” says study author Kurunthachalam Kannan, professor of environmental medicine and pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine. “The early stages of life are very vulnerable. “
The findings build on previous research published this year in Pharmaceutical who found microplastics in human placentas, Wired reports. A 2019 study published in Chemosphere also found that pieces of plastic could shatter small enough to cross cell membranes and find their way into the body’s circulatory system, the Edge reports. Microplastics in the blood could lead to cell death and inflammation. Plastics also contain hormone-disrupting chemicals that could affect reproductive, metabolic, and neurological health. The new study finding of microplastics in infant stools is alarming because babies are more prone to negative health effects during development.
Babies can be exposed to microplastics by putting toys in their mouths or plastic bottles, cups and pacifiers that could cause pieces of PET to fall out, causing it to drop. Edge reports. Babies who are in the crawling stage can also inhale the microfibers of polyester rugs.
PET is derived from natural gas and crude oil. PET is also the chemical name for polyester, and its fibers are added to fabrics like rayon, wool, and cotton to make them resistant to wrinkling. Rigid and lightweight synthetic fiber is molded into plastic containers used to wrap food, drink and other products including mouthwashes, peanut butter, liquid hand soap, cooking oils , disposable soft drink bottles and many other products. Synthetic fiber is frequently used because it can be heated to a molten liquid and then easily molded into any shape. While PET is the most recycled type of plastic, only 20% of the material is actually disposed of properly.
“This is a very interesting article with very disturbing figures,” said Deonie Allen, a microplastics expert at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, who was not involved in the study. Wired. “We need to look at everything a child is exposed to, not just their bottles and toys.”